Westlock Raw Water Intake and Pump Station

Westlock, AB

The Town of Westlock and the surrounding communities form the Westlock Regional Water Services Commission (WRWSC), which uses the Westlock water supply infrastructure to provide the supply and treatment for the whole region. The WRWSC retained ISL to upgrade the existing raw water intake and pump station to meet increased demand.

Side Intake Structure

A new side-intake structure was constructed on the south bank of the Pembina River. The intake consists of a concrete "wall" constructed a short way into the river to access the strongest flow. The location of the intake "wall" is critical in order to have sufficient scour velocity along the way to keep the intake free from sediment accumulations.

Tarp System

An innovative tarp system was employed to avoid disturbing large amounts of sediment and causing damage to sensitive fish habitats. The tarps were supported by an interlinked steel frame to keep the waters at bay while a cofferdam was constructed and pumped out to create a suitable working space.

Fish Habitats

Before any work could commence, a rigorous process needed to be undertaken with numerous regulatory agencies to determine compensation measures for disturbing fish habitats. To provide a new permanent long-term fish habitat to replace what was impacted by construction, ISL built a carefully designed rock spur downstream of the intake facility that provides three times more aquatic life habitat than was impacted.

Part of the Whole

This raw water intake and pump station were just one part of the new WRWSC Regional Water System designed by ISL, which also includes raw water transmission mains, raw water storage, upgrades and expansion of the existing water treatment plant and treat water transmission to the Village of Clyde, the Hamlet of Vimy and other surrounding communities.

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Camrose Raw Water Intake and Upgrade

Camrose, AB

The City of Camrose's existing raw water intake was a settling basin on the north shore of Driedmeat Lake south of Camrose. A raw water pump station drew water form the settling basin and pumped it to the water treatment plant in Camrose approximately 13 km away.

Freezing and Algae

The settling basin and two inlet pipes were subject to freezing and frazil ice in the winter and algae blooms in the summer. ISL was retained by the City in 2001 to design and construct a more robust and long-term solution in order to withdraw better quality raw water from deeper and further in the lake.

New Intake Structure

ISL designed a new intake structure to be constructed in the lake, as well as a 224-metre-long, 600 mm diameter HDPE pipe to connect to the raw water pump station. The structure was designed to allow for the installation of four intake pods, with room for two more in the future.

Shallow Lake

The intake structure and pods needed to be low profile because Driedmeat Lake is very shallow. The intake pods were shortened and increased to 855 mm in diameter to achieve the lowest possible profile. Three 2.4m x 1.2m steel plates were used to weigh down the intake without adding any height to the overall structure. Concrete collars were attached to the pipes that would settle into the silt on the lake bottom.

Winter Construction

Construction was undertaken in the dead of winter. The trench for the pipe and intake was cut using chainsaws after thickening the ice to support the load of the pipe, concrete collars, intake pods, personnel and construction equipment. The construction of the intake on the ice allowed for the whole assembly to be assembled and lowered into position in a controlled fashion.

2015 Upgrade

In 2015, ISL was retained to upgrade the raw water intake to support increased growth. The four existing pods were replaced with six half-circle pods with increased capacity. Due to foresight during the initial intake design, the replacement was quick and simple, conducted by professional divers while the intake was still in use.

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Drayton Valley Water Treatment Plant

Drayton Valley, AB

The Town of Drayton Valley's existing water treatment plant was constructed in 1971 and had reached the end of its service life. ISL was enlisted to design and construct the new water treatment plant and reservoir.

Sustainable Approach

The new plant was designed from the ground-up with a sustainable approach that includes solar wall heating, maximum daylight utilization by way of transluscent windows and photovoltaic energy generation. The plant is 11,000 square feet with a treatment capacity of 18 million litres per day and includes a 2800 m3 potable water storage reservoir.

Sustainable Construction

Nason Contracting Group maintained sustainable and environmentally conscious practices during construction, such as a no-idling policy for vehicles, the use of compostable or reusable coffee cups, waste material diversion and recycling, and the reuse of excess concrete for roads and backfill.

Existing Plant Conversion

To save on construction costs, the existing water treatment plant was converted into a raw water pump station to feed a water supply to the new treatment plant, which is located further away from the river intakes.

Centre of Excellence

To meet the Town's desire to have not only a water treatment plant but a "centre of excellence," the area surrounding the plant will include park space, a large lake and walking paths. The new plant will also have large windows and guided tours to let the public see into the world of water treatment.

Award Winning Facility

The facility received a 2018 Consulting Engineers of Alberta (CEA) Award of Excellence in Water Resources and Energy Production.

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Exshaw Municipal Water System

Exshaw, AB

Before the project, there was no municipal water system to treat, distribute and provide acceptable potable water to the community of Exshaw (current population 362, ultimate 1600). ISL designed and facilitated a complete municipal water system, including raw water supply and treatment, treated water storage and disinfection.

Private Wells

Before this project, households and industries in Exshaw had to draw their water from private water wells in shallow aquifers, prone to surface contamination, and use it untreated.

Road Reconstruction

To retrofit the community-wide distribution system, the roads needed to be fully removed and completely reconstructed afterwards, which was facilitated by ISL's integrated disciplines.


The water system met the client’s sustainability goals by providing a low maintenance, low energy and low lifecycle cost treatment system that effectively treats the complex raw water.

Project Completion

ISL managed this project from conceptual design to contract closeout, even assisting the Municipal District of Bighorn in obtaining funding. With the distribution system, potable water is now readily available for residents and firefighting.

Award Winner

The project won a 2013 Consulting Engineers of Alberta (CEA) Award of Excellence for Water Resources and Energy Production as well as a 2013 Canadian Consulting Engineering (CCE) Award of Excellence in the Water Resources category.

"The team demonstrated outstanding innovative and collaborative engineering skills in successfully overcoming the multiple technical, economic, environmental and social challenges for the creation of a safe, secure and sustainable municipal potable water supply."
—CEA Showcase Award judge’s comment
(Alberta Innovators magazine, spring 2013)

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Thorsby Water Treatment Plant and 3DOM-IS

Thorsby, AB

The Village of Thorsby's existing water treatment plant was constructed in 1976 and upgraded in 1995. The Village has experienced unprecedented growth and economic development and enlisted ISL to conduct an assessment study.

Assessment Results

ISL recommended constructing a new water treatment plant that utilizes membrane treatment technology in a new location away from the floodplain. The assessment report was also used to secure project funding.

New Plant Features

The new plant uses a ZeeWeed 1000 ultrafiltration membrane system and has a 2300 m3 storage reservoir. The building is built from long strand lumber (LSL) wood that was treated and protected for the wet environment. The building envelope is thermally efficient and the ventilation system uses a SolarWall to preheat incoming air during the winter months to reduce natural gas use. The facility was commissioned in late-2011.


For this plant, ISL created the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) as well as developed custom 3D Operations and Maintenance Information System (3DOM-IS) software. The 3DOM-IS is a working, interactive 3D model of the entire treatment plant and its internal components, allowing the operator to navigate the plant visually and call up a specific function or process.


The 3DOM-IS database is populated with everything needed for repair and maintenance, such as SOPs, record drawings, catalogue cuts, maintenance information, training videos, SCADA screens and annotated plant photos.

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